Victoria and Vancouver Island Real Estate and Lifestyle Blog

Whether you are relocating to Vancouver Island, or already live in the perfect piece of paradise, there is always something new to appreciate each and every day.

There are several reasons why Victoria and Vancouver Island are the most desirable places to live. If you love theatre, food, arts, and entertainment, there are activities and communities to satiate your appetite. The Island is an outdoor enthusiasts mecca, from golf to fishing, kayaking, mountain biking, and hiking, you will thoroughly appreciate the ability to stay active all year long.

In our blog, you'll find a number of topics! 

Tips on renovations and design, market updates, and trends are all on the table. I aim to promote a sense of community that will connect you to this special part of the world.  Please reach out if you have any questions at all. I'd love to talk with you!

July 16, 2021

How to Get the Most Money for Your Home: Tips from a Victoria, BC Realtor

Tips for Increasing the Value of Your Home

Buying a home is one of the most exciting and stressful things that many people do in their lifetime. For those who have owned a home for some time, it can be difficult to decide when to sell or what price point will bring in the highest amount of money. To help you get the most out of your decision to sell your home, we've compiled our top tips on how to get the most money for your house in Victoria.

Find out Where You're Starting From

- Get a comparative market analysis on your property that shows your home alongside other similar properties so you get an idea of what it is worth and what the potential is.  Speak to a Realtor who knows the Victoria Market and can help set a competitive price. I will go through all these steps with you by performing a walkthrough of your home to offer pointers and ensure your home is seen in the best light.


Timing Matters

- In Victoria, it is a good idea to sell your home in the spring or summer as this time of year has more buyers looking.  People often want to allow their kids to finish off the year and then change to a new school in the fall. With that in mind, you may choose to list yours in the fall/winter when there is less competition with other buyers if you are also going to be looking for a new home yourself. Your Realtor can discuss the best timing based on your individual situation. 


Strengthen Curb Appeal 

- Make your home as attractive to buyers as possible by making it look its best. Pay attention to the landscaping, and outdoor amenities like a pool or hot tub. Keep your lawn manicured and trim hedges or bushes that might block a potential buyer's view of your home. A good raking can make a world of difference!  If you have any updates that can be done without spending too much money or time, do them. 


Inside Updates

- Spend some time updating the inside of your house to make it more appealing. Get rid of clutter, hide all the boxes and unpacked items in your home so people don't think you're still moving things around. If something doesn't look good or is outdated (for example an old toilet), replace it as a quick fix to increase the value of your house!



The Kitchen is King 

-Think about updating your kitchen: A good kitchen can sell your property faster than any other room in the house. For buyers who want to stay within their budget, it's also important not to go too far overboard on renovations since they may have trouble getting financing if they do so.


Make Sure the 'Stage' is set! 

- Stage or prep your home so it's ready for showings. Remember, unlike decorating, staging your home isn't about personal style, it's about creating a space that appeals to buyers, that they can imagine living in.  Yes, think fruit baskets!

Make sure there are no dirty dishes in the sink or food on the countertops. If you have pets, it helps to keep them contained to prevent them from getting underfoot of potential buyers, or running out an open door!


In conclusion, knowing what steps to take before listing your home for sale can make the process much easier and faster, while also resulting in more money for you! For those who are looking for tips on how to get started with their new home search, or would like help determining if it's the right time to sell now, I'm always available to chat.


July 6, 2021

Building a Pool vs Buying a Home with One

What You Should Know About Building a Pool vs Buying a Home with One.

This last month really showed us that summers in Victoria are getting hot, and nothing is more refreshing than having a pool ready for you and your family to relax in. But if you don't have a pool, and would like a nice in-ground one, you are faced with a dilemma.
Should you build one in your backyard, or buy a home with an existing pool?


A client's amazing pool addition in Saanich

A client's amazing pool addition in Saanich   


If a pool is an important feature to you, it’s important to sit down and really understand the financial implications of buying a house with a pool, or adding one later. Go over the numbers and understand how costly the investment will be.


Option #1 is buying a home with a pool.


A pool is like any other part of your house: appliances, the roof, or the HVAC system. It wears over time. A pool will need more maintenance and eventually, it will need to be replaced.


Houses with old pools are going to be cheaper than new ones because they are worth less money. You need to think about the long-term implications of owning this type of pool. If you agree to buy the house, I recommended having a separate inspection of the swimming pool specifically.


An inspection will check the pool's decking, pool surface, electrical systems, pump, age, and condition, ensuring you know the state it is in before you buy the home.


If the pool tile is old or the deck is cracked, you may need to get estimates from a pool company. When you have all the info you need you can decide if buying an existing house with a pool is a good deal.


Option #2 is building a pool (now or later).


A common problem happens when people find the perfect house, but it lacks a pool. They promised themselves that they would add it in the future, but when they get home and start pricing pools, they see how expensive it will be. The truth is that installing an in-ground pool can be expensive.


But while in-ground pools vary from reasonably low to very high in price, companies have gone to great lengths to make pool ownership more affordable so that people who are on tight budgets or those who don't want anything too large will still be able to access this fun activity.


There are fiberglass pool shells available, often costing a minimum of ten thousand dollars, or you could have the familiar concrete or gunite pools, which are around fifty thousand dollars minimum.


If you’re looking to buy a house that has no pool currently, but want one later on down the line - and don't mind spending money now - then make sure that before even putting in an offer for your dream home, you get quotes from several different companies who specialize in pools.


Once they know what kind of vision and size range you're after, they'll be able to give a much more accurate estimate as far as how much it will cost "someday" when actually installing the pool itself.


I have many clients who swear by their pool, and use them all throughout the year. If you're looking to get an in-ground pool, and aren't sure which option is the best for you, I'm happy to talk with you in more detail!

July 5, 2021

How to Help Your Children Buy a Home


Buying a home can be challenging in today's market. And a lot of young people who are really eager to buy a home, are now finding it difficult to break into the market, with rising real estate and rent prices.

 The cycle can be vicious. You want to build equity as a homeowner, but you need to first save enough money for a down payment and closing costs. But a big chunk of your income goes towards rent, so your savings are limited. What are young buyers to do?


For parents who are able to give their children a boost, we’d like to give you some ideas for how to help your children buy a home in Greater Victoria, and Vancouver Island.


  • Parents who are in a good financial position can assist their children with finances. This could mean parents covering the mortgage for their children and charging very little interest on the home. The most common option, though, is parents providing their children with a gift to help with the down payment and legal fees.


  • If the children have a less-than-ideal credit history, but can still afford to buy a home, parents have the option to co-sign the mortgage. This helps to improve their credit rating and be able to qualify for more in other areas of their life. Remember though, co-signing is a risk, and you need to have serious trust in your children to go this route because the parent is on the line.


  • Another interesting option is to purchase a home as a parent and rent it back to the child at a rate that is much more affordable than they would find elsewhere. As time goes on, you can save their rent money and gift it back to them, while they use the additional cash they’ve saved while renting from you to purchase the home for themselves.


  • Other times, children might just need a boost early on covering expenses. This could mean letting them live at home for a time rent-free, under the condition that they save their money relentlessly with minimal expenses.


  • Another approach could also mean helping with legal fees, transfer taxes, closing costs, or moving expenses. The things that add up on top of the downpayment and mortgage payments can often be a barrier to homeownership.


All in all, there are many ways you can help your child purchase a home in Victoria in today's market. But always make sure you can afford it! Don’t be dipping into your retirement savings. Always keep your own self-interest in mind.


Having a Mortgage Professional that you can talk over the options and scenarios with you is invaluable, and I'd be happy to refer you to a trusted colleague if you have any questions!

Posted in Mortgages
June 11, 2021

June Market Update


June Victoria Market Recap 

(from June Newsletter) 



Values Increase While Inventory Stagnates

Although May was a strong month, overall sales were 6% lower than the previous month of April. Single Family Home sales decreased by 4.8% and Condo sales by 1.8%.

Demand is still very high, so these numbers reflect the very tight inventory situation we find ourselves in. There were 4 fewer homes for sale this month over last; only 1450 active listings, which is a 43% decrease from inventory levels in 2020.

This squeeze in inventory has pushed the value of Single Family Homes up 6.9% from two months ago, and by 17% since May 2020. Though less substantial, condo prices have also risen, 5.2% over last May.


The President of The Victoria Real Estate Board has stressed that “Adding inventory to the GVA Market should be the focus of every municipality council across the region. If people are concerned about attainable housing and the future of homes in Greater Victoria, they need to consider supporting the next housing development in their community”.


Many of these newer projects add substantial and unique amenities that are making condo and townhouse living more attractive. From personal rooftop garden plots to onsite carshares and geothermal heating, there is an element of superior comfort in many of these developments. A focus on fostering a sense of community and belonging through increased common spaces and amenities also makes them attractive to families.


May 2021

Sales: 1,049

Active listings: 1,450 SFH, Victoria Core: $1,036,100

(17% increase over last April and 3% increase over last month)

Condo, Victoria Core: $526,000

(5.2% increase over last April)


May 2020

Sales: 457

Active listings: 2,073

SFH, Victoria Core $885,900

Condo, Victoria Core: $500,000


If you are looking to enter the Victoria market, or to sell your current home it is very important to ensure you are getting expert advice at every level of the Real Estate Process. I have a wide network of experts that I trust, including financial advisors, property lawyers, and appraisers. I encourage you to reach out if you are looking for a referral. If you have any questions, I’d love to hear from you!

📞C: 778.400.6047


FULL STATS available at:


Posted in Market Updates
May 17, 2021

Overview of All Greater Victoria Neighbourhoods



Here's a quick guide to help you if you're looking to move, buy a property or relocate to the Victoria, BC area. I cover the Saanich peninsula from Sidney along the west coast out to Sooke and up the Malahat!


0:00 What should I be looking for in a Neighbourhood?

1:59 Greater Victoria Municipalities Intro

2:36 City of Victoria/ Fairfield/ James Bay/ Rockland

4:42 Municipality of Oak Bay- Gonzales/ Uplands/ Henderson

5:14 East Saanich- Cadboro Bay/ Cordova Bay/ Queenswood/ Gordon Head

5:55 West Saanich- The Gorge/ Tillicum/ Royal Oak/ Beaver, Prospect & Elk Lake

7:44 Central Saanich- Dean Park/ Brentwood Bay/ Saanichton

9:21 Esquilmalt & Vic West

11:41 The West Shore- Colwood / Langford/ Bear Mountain/ Highlands/Metchosin/ Sooke

13:23 Malahat Region- Shawnigan Lake/ Mill Bay/ Cobble Hill / Cowichan Valley

14:03 The Best Way to Pick Your Neighbourhood


May 11, 2021

May Market Update

April Victoria Market Recap 

(from May Newsletter) 

Links in Video:

How I Survived an Avalanche

Donate to Breast Cancer Research



2016 was busier but we're feeling

the heat more now


Last April the world ground to a halt, so yes, sales have certainly increased over last year,  a substantial 111% for Condos and 88% for Single Family Homes- but it’s necessary to look back to previous years and compare trends to get a more accurate picture. 


Over the past 5 years, average April sales were 896 with 2016 having the highest number of sales at 1,286.  For comparison, April 2021 had a total of 1,116 sales… so not that far off!


What is strikingly different, however, is the amount of inventory available. The previous five-year average for active listings was 2,596, and this April the average was around 1000 homes LESS than that, ending the month with 1,454 active listings.


There has been a great increase in consumer demand for homes in the Greater Victoria area that has pushed prices upwards and increased the number of multiple offer situations and unconditional offers on listed properties. These can be scary and unfamiliar situations, even to seasoned home buyers, and working with an experienced Realtor, like myself, can ensure your best interests are taken care of. 


April 2021

Total sales: 1,116
New listings: 1,516
Active listings: 1,454

SFH, Victoria Core  $996,500 

(12.6% increase over last April and 2.9% increase over last month)


April 2020

Total: 287
New listings: 667
Active listings: 2,305

SFH, Victoria Core  $884,600


The imbalance in the Victoria market is due to limited housing supply with new builds and projects taking time. There are a number of new, community-focused areas in development right now that I am excited about. I mention some of them in my newsletter video above, and I’d be happy to chat with you more about these and where I see the biggest opportunities.


In addition to whatever your real estate needs may be, do not hesitate to reach out if you need any recommendations for contractors or home services. I'd be happy to provide some of my favourites.


Have a fantastic May and enjoy all the new blooms!

Posted in Market Updates
May 7, 2021

I Survived an Avalanche

I was caught in an avalanche in 2005, and am a very lucky man to be here today!


Robin circa 2005-ish

On December 28, 2005, my friends and I were skiing at Kicking Horse Resort. We all had several years of backcountry skiing experience and training and chose to venture outside of the area boundary after lunch to evaluate the snowpack.


Three of us dropped below the ridgeline and performed a standard column isolation and compression test. The snowpack was extremely volatile and we elected to go back into the resort. As I was climbing back to the top of the ridge, the entire slope failed.


It was the scariest moment of my life! Time slowed down and I looked to my left, where my friend was also being pulled down. I thought. "I'm going to die right now, I can't believe this is it for me, I can't do this to my family" Then I was gone.


I was swept over a cliff and heard a big pop. Something was broken. Buried in the snow, I felt myself get pushed out and swept over another small cliff.  I landed on my back and was so relieved to be conscious. I knew at that point that I had a chance.


So, I tried to stand but was hit with more snow and landed on my stomach. I started swimming, quite literally, for my life. As the slide started to slow down, I kept swimming and when it stopped, I was immediately frozen in the snow! Thankfully my head and my right hand were above the snow. I was so relieved to be alive!!


Luckily my friend who was a ski patrol was not fully swept down with me and he was able to radio to the resort and get them to call a helicopter. In the meantime, my friends roped up and tried to get down to me but they triggered another small slide.


Eventually, the helicopter was able to land and the ski patrol stabilized me.  I had shattered my femur and perforated my femoral artery; I needed surgery. 

Robin and son

Each and every day I am grateful to all of the people who helped save my life. Needless to say, not a lot stresses me out anymore. I'm so thankful for this wonderful life and love being able to meet new people and help them with their home needs. 

I still ski and love taking my son out as often as we can!



Posted in Meet Robin
May 6, 2021

Starting the Mortgage Process

When & How To Find the Right Mortgage Professional


While it is my job and absolute pleasure to help you find your dream home, there are a few boxes you need to check in advance, so that you are ready to put in an offer and make confident choices in our fast-paced property market. 


That’s where mortgage professionals come in. I recommend working with a designated mortgage specialist who can provide you with tailored services, and detailed knowledge of the mortgage industry. Like working with the right Realtor, choosing the right advisor can make all the difference to how smooth and stress-free your experience is. 

When Should I Start?


It’s important to speak to a lender in advance of home hunting. A good Mortgage Specialist will review your financial landscape will reveal any areas that may need attention or where changes can be made so that you can lock in a better approval, rates or terms.


They will provide advice and coach you on actions you may need to take to be set up for success. Generally, this is

 recommended 3-6 months in advance of a serious home hunt. 


During this process, you will also be ‘pre- approved’ for a mortgage amount that will give you a budget for your home shopping. It is important to share this information with your Realtor, to ensure that they can provide you with the best properties that fit.  


Our market in Victoria is hot, but please remember that you don’t have to choose a property that’s at your maximum mortgage approval amount. Take some time to think on it and decide what’s the best fit for your situation and your family! I am happy to help by providing different property types or areas to consider that might be a better fit than you those you had originally had in mind.


Beyond your initial purchase, mortgage professionals can continue to help you after you own your home. Don’t forget to seek their expertise on the best ways to manage your assets during big life changes such as new businesses, job losses, or divorce. 



How Do I Make the Best Choice?


To start with it’s important to choose an experienced mortgage professional. 


Enquire about their experience and credentials. Have they taken any additional licensing courses to enhance their knowledge? Have they been able to move up in their industry because they are good at what they do?

Look at the satisfaction of past clients through online reviews, do they come highly recommended?


A woman sitting in the stairs next to a man showing him something on a laptop


Finding the Right Fit


You may want to speak with more than one advisor or broker before you decide who you want to work with, and that’s ok!


Communication is key. Your advisor should be able to explain your options to you in a clear and easily understandable way and to answer your questions confidently. 


You should feel comfortable with them and be able to explain your financial situation openly. It’s important for your advisor to know the details of your financial past and your hopes for the future. Withholding information from them makes it harder for them to give you the best options for you. 


Choose an advisor who is attuned to your needs and shows you options with an explanation of their pros and cons as well as any possible limitations. 


For example: 

  • A low rate option may come with a 5 year period of restrictions which means you cannot refinance or transfer during that time. What does that mean if you were planning to use equity for home renovations?


  • You are planning to make additional payments to shorten your mortgage term- Does the lender allow this or do they charge penalties for doing so?


**There have been some recent changes to federal policy that could affect your borrowing rules and buying power. These articles will provide an introduction, courtesy of Auxilium Mortgage, but it's important to speak to a professional who can provide guidance and sound advice. 

Click to Read More: 

Stress Test for Uninsured Mortgages will change June 1, 2021

First-Time Home Buyer Incentive Updated for Victoria, Vancouver & Toronto Markets


Robin’s Recommendations


Having helped many clients over the years, I have been able to work with some stellar mortgage professionals. Here are my top 2 recommendations to help you in your home purchasing and owning journey!



Kam Brar

Mortgage Partner| Auxilium Mortgage   

250 590 6520


Tyler McTaggart

Mortgage Specialist | Designer Capital Inc.   

250 217 1914



Broker vs. Bank 

 A Mortgage Broker is an intermediary who does not work for any specific bank or institution. They can shop around and compare rates with different lenders, and provide you with more options. Not all brokers work with all lenders, so it is important to ask your potential broker how wide their scope is. Additionally, ask what their fees are- brokers are typically paid by the lender, not by you, the borrower, but it's important to ask. Your broker should be 100% upfront with you on this, or it’s a red flag. 


Mortgage Advisor/Specialist who works for a specific lender (typically a bank) will be able to offer you options financed through that institution. If you’re already a client of that bank, this option may be more convenient, as they will already have access to your financials. There can also be additional perks for combining your financial products with one institution. You are not tied to only looking through your current provider but can shop around by meeting with more than one bank. 




Posted in Mortgages
April 10, 2021

April Market Update


March Victoria Market Recap 

(from April Newsletter) 



Condos offering great

value for buyers!



Wow, last March the pandemic was just starting to reach us on Vancouver Island and businesses began to close and people began staying in to help 'flatten the curve'. Concepts like social distancing, cohorts, and bubbles were added to our everyday conversations, and these big changes reflected in our real estate market. 


In March 2020 there were 608 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board area and last month that number rebounded a whopping 92.9% with 1,173 sales!


The sale of condos increased by 111% surging past the 88% increase that Single Family Homes had over last March.


Looking more historically to other years that didn’t have such drastic world events, the market is still hotter than it ever has been. The imbalance in inventory that we're seeing favors sellers and comes from an increase in people looking to move to our beautiful island. And really, I can't blame them!


The MLS home price benchmark for single-family homes in March 2020 was just over $879k with the price increasing this year to average $968,700. This new average also represents a 2.2% increase from the previous month, February 2021. 


Condos in the Victoria core averaged sale prices of $531,800 in March 2020 and actually saw a slight decrease, of 0.5%, to average $529,100 last month. While this decrease is slight, it represents a great area of opportunity. 


Now is a great time to consider buying or investing in a condo as their value and selling price is lagging behind the sharper increases seen in the single-family home market. I don’t anticipate that this delay will last forever, so it would be a good idea to benefit from this while you can.


As the weather warms up, and we are encouraged to stay small and stay local, I am every day reminded how grateful and happy I am to call this city home. 


If you’re looking to make a move, or move to the Island to see what you’re missing I encourage you to reach out. Give me a call, send me an email or visit my various social platforms and let me answer any questions you may have and help you navigate this fast-paced market. I’d love to see you out on the trails!



Happy April and talk again soon!


Posted in Market Updates
April 1, 2021

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We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

Posted in Market Updates